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Berkshire County Historical Society Announces Melville Fellows
12:22PM / Wednesday, August 25, 2021
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire County Historical Society has named Shawna Hennessy, Aylen Dominguez, and Hazel Richards Melville Fellows for 2021-22.    The fellowship program, which began in 2018, annually awards  Berkshire County college students the opportunity to work at Herman Melville's Arrowhead to create one or more pieces of original writing inspired by Arrowhead's surroundings and the BCHS collection. The fellowship program does not restrict the type or subject of the works created, giving participants a breadth of creative freedom. Arrowhead's Writer-in-Residence Emeritus Jana Laiz spearheads the program and works in groups and individually

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Adams Community Bank Supports Financial Literacy in Local High Schools
08:07AM / Wednesday, August 25, 2021
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ADAMS, Mass — Charles P. O'Brien, President and CEO of Adams Community Bank, announced that the bank has developed strategic relationships with 11 high schools across Berkshire County to offer a multifaceted financial literacy program this school year.   The program is offered through Ramsey Solutions and provides a curriculum to students titled Foundations in Personal Finance. Dovetailing with the bank's goals of increasing financial literacy across Berkshire County, the philosophy of this program is that every student in America should graduate from high school knowing basic money management principles.   "We frequently hear from customers seeking ideas and

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MCLA Professor Receives Irene Buck Award
12:02PM / Tuesday, August 24, 2021
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Arts|Learning, a state advocacy agency for arts education, has named MCLA Professor of Arts Management Lisa Donovan its 2021 Irene Buck Service to Arts Education Award recipient.      According to a press release, the Irene Buck Award honors an individual for distinguished and prolonged service as an advocate for arts education. The recipient exemplifies commitment and service to, and support of the arts, and arts-education communities.    It was named to honor Irene Buck, President of the Massachusetts Alliance for Arts Education for many years, who was the first recipient in 1998.      Donovan has published widely on arts

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DESE Board of Education Approves Universal Mask Mandate
10:43AM / Tuesday, August 24, 2021
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BOSTON — Public school students will have to mask up this fall.    The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Tuesday morning found that "exigent circumstances" existed and authorized the implementation of a face-covering mandate.   DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley had requested the determination in the face of rising rates of new COVID-19 cases.    The Education Department had proffered guidelines that "strongly encouraged" unvaccinated staff and students to mask indoors in July, prior to the emergence of the much more transmissable Delta variant.    "We know that a return this fall to full-time, in person instruction

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MCLA To Hold In-Person Convocation
12:13PM / Monday, August 23, 2021
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass.— Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will hold an in-person Convocation ceremony for first-year students at noon on Tuesday, Aug. 31, at the Amsler Campus Center Gym.     Students and guests at Convocation will follow current COVID-19 public health protocols as outlined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, including mask-wearing and social distancing.     "I'm so excited to welcome the Class of 2025 to campus, and to come together for Convocation in person this year," said MCLA President James F. Birge. "Convocation is one of our favorite traditions here, and it will be wonderful to clap and cheer for

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State Board of Education Expected to Endorse School Mask Mandate
09:23AM / Saturday, August 21, 2021
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BOSTON — The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education plans to meet Tuesday morning at 10 to authorize the commissioner of education to issue a mask mandate for public school students.    "In light of the current rise of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, I believe a mask mandate will be an important additional measure to keep students in school safely at this time," writes DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Rily in a memorandum to the board. "Masks remain a simple and effective mitigation measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A mandate will also provide more time for students and staff to get vaccinated, as we know vaccination remains the single most important tool in

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Central Berkshire Opts for Universal Masking This Fall
12:02PM / Friday, August 20, 2021
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DALTON, Mass. — The Central Berkshire Regional School Committee on Thursday night was the latest to opt for universal face coverings for students, staff and visitors this fall.    Berkshire Hills, Mount Greylock, North Adams and Pittsfield have previously endorsed universal masking. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on July 30 issued guidance that "strongly" encouraged masking by unvaccinated individuals but not for those vaccinated. Since then, the state has seen a sharp increase in positive cases even among the vaccinated community. The governor has preferred to allow school districts to make their own decisions regarding face

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Health Education Students Offered Free Program Focused on Community Needs
08:04AM / Friday, August 20, 2021
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is resuming its in-person Health Scholars' Program in collaboration with Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield.    The program is for allied health students (including nursing, physical therapist assistants, respiratory care, and community health workers) interested in supplementing their education by gaining additional knowledge and experience in addressing local community needs.    "There are many reasons to take advantage of the Health Scholars' Program," says AHEC Center Director, Sheila Dargie. "The opportunity to work with professionals outside the traditional

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BCC Sets Date for Final Nursing Program Info Session
12:19PM / Thursday, August 19, 2021
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PITTSFIELD, Mass — Berkshire Community College has set a final opportunity on Monday, Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. to attend a mandatory Nursing Information Session for students ready to enroll in the spring 2022 Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) cohort.    To RSVP, visit www.berkshirecc.edu/nursinginfo. The deadline to submit a complete matriculation form is  Wednesday, Sept. 1.    The nursing program is recognized as one of the top ten nursing programs in the commonwealth, according to Nursing Schools Almanac's 2020 rankings. The ADN program at BCC is approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing and is

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Pittsfield Schools Switch to Mandatory Masking
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:15AM / Thursday, August 19, 2021
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Public Schools is reinstituting a universal mask mandate for students and staff.    Superintendent Joseph Curtis told the School Committee on Wednesday that he recommended masking for all students and staff while indoors and on school buses. Along with this is a standard recommendation of a minimum of 3 feet social distancing wherever possible.   The School Committee gave the superintendent the authority in May to amend the masking policy based on metrics and state and federal guidance.   Curtis presented COVID-19 data from one year ago as compared to current data to support his decision.   "I feel very strongly, and I

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